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News & Announcements

News and Annoucements

After 38 years of coaching, Coach Hesse has announced his retirement.

A graphic of Coach Kirk Hesse.

After 38 years of coaching for three different wrestling programs in the metro area, Coach Kirk Hesse has announced his retirement from coaching. Over the course of his career, Hesse coached for Urbandale and the West Des Moines Valley programs before ending at North Polk.

During his extensive tenure, he guided 33 State Qualifiers and 10 State place winners. Notably, he coached State Qualifiers in all three classes at the same school.

On a team level, his achievements include leading four dual team Regional Qualifiers, with two dual team Regional Finalists, and reaching 193 dual meet wins.

Outside the wrestling room, many of his athletes have excelled, with over 10 former wrestlers now coaching at high school and college levels, and three wrestlers earning appointments to Military Academies.

Hesse played a significant role in elevating the Comet Wrestling Program, with multiple team qualifiers and remarkable success. In his final season, the Comets achieved a record seven state qualifiers in 2024, including a state runner-up medalist.

Thank you, Coach, for all you have done for our student-athletes and for leaving behind a thriving program.

We want to hear from you! Please fill out our Community Survey today!

A photo of a student and administrator during a school celebration.

We are eager to gather your valuable feedback as we reflect on the past school year and set our sights on the future. Your thoughts, viewpoints, and feedback significantly guide the path of our district, schools, and community. Therefore, we are seeking your input on various topics related to academics, curriculum, and learning, facilities updates, culture and safety, and communication through our annual Community Survey. 

With that in mind, we ask for a few moments of your time to complete a brief survey. This survey is open to everyone in the community and can be easily accessed by visiting the button below.

Link to Survey

With official board approval, we are excited to announce that Mrs. Whitney Longtin will serve as the next principal at Central Elementary.

A photo headshot of Mrs. Whitney Longtin.

After receiving approval from the board on Monday, we are thrilled to officially announce the appointment of our new leader at Central Elementary, Mrs. Whitney Longtin! With prior administrative experience at Ankeny Schools, Whitney will be a valuable addition to our team.

Longtin said, “I am honored to be joining the amazing staff and students at Central Elementary and the community of North Polk.”

The district attracted a strong pool of candidates. Out of 37 applicants, 13 were screened, and 4 were selected as finalists for on-campus interviews with stakeholders.

Longtin has spent 16 years within the Ankeny School District and currently serves as the K-5 Assistant Principal at Southeast Elementary in Ankeny. In addition to this role, she was a school administration manager, instructional coach, and 3rd grade and kindergarten teacher. 

Throughout her years at the elementary school level, she has been committed to being a servant leader by building staff and student relationships, creating a safe learning environment, and collaboratively working toward the overall growth and direction of a building and the community.  

Mrs. Whitney holds two degrees, having earned her undergraduate degree from Luther College in 2008 and her master's degree from Viterbo University in 2014.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her three children, busy with sports, hiking, camping, and sailing. 

We are looking forward to a smooth transition for Whitney over the next month and a half as she will officially begin duties starting on July 1, 2024. 

“I am so excited to start this journey with North Polk helping to lead, empower, and support our students to reach their full potential!  Go Comets!” Longtin said.

Please welcome Whitney and her family to North Polk!

We are excited to share that Central Elementary has been honored as a Model Professional Learning Community at Work® by Solution Tree, making it only the 15th school in Iowa to achieve this recognition.

A graphic highlighting the PLC award at Central Elementary.

One of Nearly 600 Schools and Districts in the US and Canada to Receive This Honor

Solution Tree recently recognized Central Elementary School for its sustained success in raising student achievement. Central’s successful implementation of the Professional Learning Communities at Work ® process was a major contributing factor in the improved achievement of our students.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) help schools by emphasizing that continuous, job-embedded learning for educators is crucial for enhancing student student success at high levels.
The three big ideas of a PLC call upon educators to:

1. Focus on learning.
2. Build a collaborative culture.
3. Create a results orientation.

In response to this news, Central Elementary Principal, Ms. Kristi Mixdorf said, “We are honored to receive this recognition from Solution Tree. This award acknowledges the dedicated efforts and teamwork of the staff here at Central and the daily investment that goes into student achievement. Our team is devoted to collaborative practices and being only the 15th school in Iowa to receive this honor puts us in special company and I am immensely proud of the dedication our staff has shown on this journey over the last three years."

Schools are recognized based on strict criteria, including demonstration of a commitment to PLC concepts, implementation of these concepts for at least three years, and clear evidence of improved student learning over that period. Once measurable results can be seen, the school must explain its practices, structures, and culture and submit its application for consideration by the PLC Review Committee. According to the Champions of PLC at Work®, educators in the schools and districts selected for this recognition have shown “a sustained commitment to helping all of their students achieve at high levels. They have been willing to alter the structure and culture of the organization to reflect their commitment. We applaud them and congratulate them for achieving this very significant milestone on the never-ending PLC journey.” 

Recognized model PLC schools are listed on, where they share implementation strategies, structures, and performance with other educators interested in improving their schools. Tools for team collaboration, articles, and research about PLCs, blog posts, and other related resources are also available on the site. The site was developed and is maintained by Solution Tree, a leading provider of educational strategies and tools that improve staff and student performance. For more than 25 years, Solution Tree resources have helped K–12 teachers and administrators create schools where all children succeed.

As per the most recent 2024 rankings from U.S. News, NPHS has been nationally recognized as one of the Best High Schools.

Best High Schools graphic.

We are thrilled to share that North Polk High School has achieved impressive national and metro-area rankings in the 2024 Best High Schools, as per the latest U.S. News rankings. Among 18,000 schools nationwide, NPHS stands in the top 15%. The rankings are based on state test performance, graduation rates, and college preparedness. Moreover, North Polk High School is tied for first place nationally in Graduation Rate. 

Here locally, NPHS continues to shine as a top achieving school coming in at #13 in all Iowa High Schools and #4 in the Des Moines Metro Area.

This recognition highlights the commitment and effort of our students and staff in the classroom every day.